Monthly Archives: January 2011

Tropical Pudding Shots

Yes pudding shots! I know you’ve all heard of jello shots. I also think it’s time for me to serve them at my next party. But pudding shots are almost the same but with pudding! This recipe calls for sugar-free fat-free pudding but if you’re not watching calories just use the regular pudding. I actually have not made them yet but I plan to soon! They sound delicious! This recipe also only makes 8 servings so if you have a huge crowd  adjust the amounts accordingly. And since I am allergic to the aspartame in the sugar-free jello puddings (and jello) I will have to find one with Splenda or just use the regular kind. Have fun and enjoy the weekend!

INGREDIENTS:

4 ounces fat-free milk (I will probably use fat-free half-and-half)

1 small (4 serving) package Jell-O Sugar Free Fat Free Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (or any other kind you want)

3 ounces coconut rum

1 ounce lime juice

½ cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, not drained

1 cup Cool Whip Free, thawed (or regular if you wish)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine milk and pudding in a bowl and whisk or mix until smooth. Add the rum, lime juice and pineapple. Stir well.

2. Fold in the Cool Whip. Once mixture is smooth throughout, divide it among 8 small cups.

3. Place in fridge until ready to serve, at least 30 minutes. Use a spoon to eat!

Makes 8 servings

Tuna Burgers with Tapenade Aioli

Well today is back to the normal routine. No more birthday wishes, till next year! So that means back to a healthier cooking style again. Today’s recipe is originally from Bobby Flay. I tweaked it a bit by using agave nectar instead of honey and I used a hot chinese red pepper sauce instead of the chipotle pepper purée he called for. We also did not have them on rolls. The tapenade aioli is a very nice sauce for these. It did however turn a pinkish-purple color, I’m guessing from the color in the kalamata olives. Either way it’s pretty and tasted very good! The recipe was supposed to make 8 burgers, I got only 7. No biggy, there’s only two of us eating them! This dish is loaded with protein from the tuna and since there are no “fillers” it’s even better for you! I served a side of green beans with a little butter and slivered almonds.

INGREDIENTS:

1½ pounds fresh tuna steak, finely chopped (I used the food processor)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red pepper sauce of your choice

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

2 green onions, thinly sliced

salt

black pepper

TAPENADE AIOLI:

¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

2 tablespoons capers, drained

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 lemon, zested

½ lemon juiced

½ cup light mayonnaise

salt & pepper


DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine the tuna, mustard, pepper sauce, oil, agave/honey and green onion in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Shape the chopped tuna mixture firmly into 8 uniform patties about 1½ inches thick. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. They will hold their shape better when very cold.

2. Grill the burger for 3 minutes on each side for medium doneness. I did them in a large frying pan and 3 minutes each side worked great.Use medium-high heat.

For the tapenade aioli:

1. Combine the olives, garlic lemon zest and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Add the mayonnaise and process until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Makes about 8 burgers. (I got 7)

Easy Steak Marinade

Well today is my birthday. And since it’s my birthday I was thinking of what I wanted for dinner. My husband and I will be going to my favorite restaurant, EVO,  on the weekend but for tonight I needed a dinner plan. Have to eat anyway so it may as well be my favorite, all time, go to dinner. Steak and mashed potatoes. Ever since I was a kid and even when I got older and went away to college I always wanted steak and mashed potatoes for my dinner. So off to the supermarket I went this morning to get a couple of rib eyes. I usually buy ribeyes when they are on sale and stash them in the freezer. So when I went to the supermarket I was beyond shocked at the regular price of them! Needless to say I didn’t get them. I instead went for a steak my Mom used to make for us all the time as kids growing up. Chuck steak. It is much cheaper and it really isn’t all that bad. I used to by them in college too. So I figured why not. And to be on the safe side I will marinate them. I found this marinade in a low-carb recipe cookbook and I’ve used it with several types of beef in the past. It was intended for sirloin but it works for pretty much everything. If it’s too much for what you are using just cut the recipe in half.  So I will be enjoying my steak and mashed potatoes tonight for my birthday! Yum Yum!!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water

½ cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

½ medium onion, finely minced

1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar

½ tablespoon wine vinegar

1½ tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon spicy brown or Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, crushed

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine the water, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion, balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and garlic in a large measuring cup or bowl.

2. Place your steak in a large zipper-lock bag. Pour in the marinade and seal the bag. Place it on a plate or in a bowl and place in the fridge for at least several hours or overnight if you have time.

3. Remove the steak about 15 minutes before you are ready to cook.


Quick & Easy Pizza

I know many people have posted pizza recipes lately. Mine is just the plain and simple ordinary kind. No fuss no muss. I used to make pizzas all the time but stopped for some reason. Then I decided to give the ole dough boy another go. No I do NOT make my own crust. Don’t have time or the patience. So I do the next best thing. I buy the Pillsbury pizza crust in the tube. I like crispy crust so we get the one for thin crust. Fewer calories than the thick one too. I won’t be calling this a diet dish because of the crust but it’s not so bad.

I use my own sauce which I add garlic powder and oregano to. Add some red pepper flakes for more kick if you want. The pizza I made the other day is just a plain pepperoni/sausage cheese pizza. I have one of those stoneware baking pans from Pampered Chef and I used that. When I precooked the crust I sprayed it with a little olive oil cooking spray and sprinkled sesame seeds all along the edges. Came out so tasty and crispy! Not doughy at all. I usually buy the shredded mozzarella cheese but this time I had a coupon for the block so I grated it myself. Much better actually, the cheese was creamier and seemed to have more flavor. I did use part-skim mozzarella of course.

The pepperoni I used was the regular kind and I also used 2 chicken sausages. I peeled the casing off the sausage and cut them into big chunks and put them in the food processor. This way I had ‘ground’ sausage to spread over the pie! Came out awesome. I used the al fresco brand sun-dried tomato chicken sausage. I always stock up on those when they are BOGO in the stores. They freeze wonderfully. Oh and on one half of the pie (my half) I added 4 anchovies as well.  So here is the recipe.


INGREDIENTS:

1 tube of Pillsbury pizza crust

½ cup or so of your favorite tomato sauce/pizza sauce

garlic powder

pepperoni

2 chicken sausages ground up (any Italian flavor is good)

1 cup or so grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

sesame seeds

anchovies if you want

DIRECTIONS:

1. Follow directions on package for oven and pre-cooking the crust. When you have the crust on your baking sheet sprinkle sesame seeds all along the edges. Use as much as you wish.

2. When crust is ready spread the tomato/pizza sauce all over and up to the edges. Sprinkle the ground sausage evenly over the pizza. If you add anchovies place them on evenly through the pie. Spread the cheese evenly on top of that and then top with pepperoni.

3. Bake according to directions on package. I actually put the oven up to 450ºF. I think it calls for 375ºF. I like it more well done. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Check on it after the time is up to make sure the cheese is all melted and bubbly.

Serve it up!


Popcorn Fanatic

No recipe today, just the following popcorn tribute of sorts. Remember this referral number #1093 and save 10%!!!

As most of you may (or may not) know, I LOVE POPCORN!!! I have said I’d eat it 24/7/365 if I could. If there were a popcorn diet I’d be all over it! I have a stove top twirly popper that I used most of the time. Just a little bit of oil and my own kernels and I’m good to go. (I prefer using the giant bag of JollyTime kernels. Much cheaper and the best popping.) I get all kinds of seasonings for it too. I even like microwave popcorn when I’m just being lazy. Yes, I am obsessed with popcorn. Hence my blog’s User Name, PopcornGirl. Get it! I love popcorn. So a few weeks back I came across this freebie thing for a sample of popcorn from a popcorn site called Popcorn4all. I sent for it and it arrived the other day. It was a mix of their butter/cheddar/caramel. One word- DELICIOUS! So tasty and crunchy and yummy! The butter was buttery, the cheese was a nice buttery cheese taste (not overwhelming and didn’t make my fingers orange! Hate that!)and the caramel was a light crunchy caramel. I usually am not crazy about the caramel, usually too sticky and sugary. But this was just right! Perfect! Love it!

So they have this “referral program” going on and if anyone uses my referral #1093 they can get 10% off their order! And I have to say the prices on this site are very reasonable too. I have shopped on many popcorn sites and they have some of the best prices around. I have shopped at Garrett Popcorn (from Chicago) which I love but they are pricey and the shipping costs kill. I try and bring some back from their one and only New York City store when I go back to visit but that’s not very often these days. So when I found Popcorn4all I was very happy. They have tins, bags, gifts, etc. Something for everyone!

So check out their site at http://www.popcorn4all.com/. And use my referral #1093. You’ll save 10%! These days any savings is a great thing. I think I will order myself some for my birthday this week! Plus popcorn is good for you too! It’s one of the healthiest snacks around! See a recent article about it! Click Here!

My wonderful old-fashioned popper! It sits on a counter!

**Popcorn4all is not paying me to promote them or have they given me anything to do so. I just wanted to spread the word about a great product. Just don’t forget to use my referral #1093!! Save 10% today and have a delicious snack in the process!!

Almond Joy Hot Cocoa

Well once again I’m late doing the blog. I had a very busy day and before I knew it the day was over. Been sticking to my exercise resolution so far. My legs feel it! Then I did some cleaning in the house before I take down the decorations and tree inside this weekend. So while looking through my recipes for today’s cocktail I thought it should be weather appropriate because once again the temps have dropped here in south Florida. Been in the 50s today. Chilly. I know I know, it’s nothing compared to up north, but I left that weather for a reason! Anyway… Here we are. I am tired so today will not have any ramblings. Just the facts! 🙂 And feel free to use regular hot cocoa in this if you have it. I like to save the calories as you know.

INGREDIENTS:

1 25-calorie packet of diet hot cocoa mix (no marshmallows)

1½ ounces coconut rum

1 drop almond extract (just one drop so be careful)

Reddi-wip for topping

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a mug combine the hot cocoa mix and 6 ounces hot water. Stir till dissolved.

2. Add the rum and almond extract.

3. Stir and top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

Makes 1 drink

Homemade Granola

Some time ago, actually almost a year ago, I found this recipe in a little magazine that was stuck into my Sunday paper called Relish Magazine. Now I look forward to it every month. It’s loaded with recipes, tips, articles and so much great information. I usually end up saving the whole magazine rather than cutting out all the recipes. Well this recipe is for granola. I really like granola as a snack but most of the store-bought stuff is so loaded with fat and calories that the so-called “healthy” aspect of it is pretty much irrelevant. But when I saw this recipe I was pleasantly surprised. For every 2/3 cup serving there is 230 calories and only 4.5 grams of fat! Not really that bad! Plus it has 4 grams of fiber per serving also which helps. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s still a little on the high side for calories but compared to some of the regular store-bought granola out there it is still lower. Either way I like that I know exactly what is in this. The original recipe calls for honey but we like to use agave nectar. Calorie-wise it’s about the same but better for the glycemic level. So check out this recipe and go make up a batch!

Photo is for illustrative purposes only.

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

4½ cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked

1/3 cup sliced almonds

½ cup shredded sweetened coconut

2 teaspoons cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup agave nectar (light or amber)- use honey if you want, same amount

¼ cup apple juice

½ cup raisins

½ cup dried cranberries (yummm) 🙂

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Combine oats, almonds, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the agave nectar or honey and apple juice. Pour over the oat mixture and stir to coat thoroughly.

3. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring twice during baking. Let cool; add raisins and cranberries.

Makes 12 servings

Firecracker Coconut Dip

Ever have one of those “hump” days that make the “hump” seem like it’s Mt. Everest? Well today was that day for me. I also think I should have made my New Year resolution something other than exercising more. I think it should have been for me to do my blog in the MORNING!! Well today’s mess started yesterday morning. Took my half-and-half out of the fridge for my coffee and thought the container seemed a little on the warm side. Hmmm…Started checking other items. Same thing. Freezer check. Most still frozen but a few items were soft. Not a good sign. So I put thermometers in both places and my fridge was reading 60 degrees! Um that’s not right! And the freezer was almost 50! Also not a good thing. So I cranked the temperature to the highest it would go and by that night the fridge only dropped maybe 5 degrees. Same in the freezer. So I called the service dudes. They told me they’d be here sometime today between 8 and 5! As usual! And they’d call 30 minutes before they arrived! OMG! I was now trapped in the house all day. Afraid to go in the shower for fear the guy would of course show up without calling or something. Couldn’t do anything! Then later in the afternoon I get my delivery from Apple computers with my new iLife 11 software for my iMac. A third of the way through the installation it froze!!! OMG again! Now I’m on hold for tech support and of course the service guy beeps in! He’ll be there in 30 minutes! Yikes! Go back to Apple and they guy on the other end is saying Hello?? Ok so we shut down my iMac (Fiona, I name all my computers) and we try again. He stayed on the phone with me the entire time. All went well! Just a brain fart! It happens. I was scared to do anything for fear I’d erase my entire computer! (that is how you get when you have PCs for most of your computer using life and they always have issues) And for anyone who knows me I am totally attached at the hip to my computer. So as I am saying thank you and hanging up with Apple the repair guy shows up! 5:00! 40 minutes later my fridge is working. For now. Some defroster/heater or something. I needed a drink! So here I am, at 7:15pm finally doing the blog! And now that I’ve put you all to sleep with my ramblings…Here is today’s recipe.

This is a low-calorie dip and so refreshing and different from your usual ranch veggie dips or whatever else is out there. I love making my own dips, I know what is in them and I know what isn’t! You can even serve this dip with grilled shrimp or pork or put it on a burger! Versatility is a wonderful thing! And the “firecracker” is the explosion of flavor you will get from the wasabi or horseradish. If you don’t like it too “hot” put less in. But its sooo good!!

INGREDIENTS:

1 package (8oz.) light cream cheese, softened

1 carton (8oz.) light sour cream

½ cup unsweetened coconut milk or light cream of coconut

1-2 tablespoons wasabi paste (you can also use 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish)

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel

3 tablespoons lime juice

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a medium mixing bowl beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Beat in the sour cream, coconut milk or cream of coconut, wasabi paste, ginger, lime peel and lime juice until smooth. Chill for at least an hour. Always better to let dips sit and mellow out.

2. Serve with carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, peppers or any other vegetables you like!

Makes about 2½ cups

Oatmeal Pancakes

Yes you read correctly. Oatmeal. And yes, I did eat oatmeal! And yes I did like it! BUT, it was in pancakes. Not as a cereal. (that will NEVER happen) But I still ate it! The pancakes were so good too! Last weekend my husband wanted pancakes. We never have a mix on hand because we make it once and then it sits there for months and months and by the time he wants them again the mix is no longer any good. So I found a recipe in the South Beach Diet Cookbook and changed it up a bit. I used fat-free half-and-half in place of fat-free milk, soy flour in place of whole wheat flour and toasted wheat bran instead of toasted wheat germ. Came out awesome! The only problem was that I do not have a good flat griddle pan. I had to use my largest frying pan and needless to say the pancakes were a bit on the odd-looking side. They were not round. But they tasted really good! Nutty and a little more chewy than pancakes usually are but really tasty. I was going to add some cinnamon to the batter but I forgot. Next time! So please excuse the photos, don’t judge by their looks. We also used agave nectar instead of syrup and it was delicious. Didn’t have to use so much of it either! Oh and if you decide to make them you need prep time. About 40 minutes of  “sitting” is needed. Read below and you’ll see what I mean.

Not your usual round pancakes!

INGREDIENTS:

1¼ cups rolled oats (not quick cooking oats)

2 cups fat-free half-and-half

1 egg

½ cup soy flour

¼ cup toasted wheat bran

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar substitute (I used Splenda)

2 teaspoons canola oil

½ teaspoon salt

There are actually 4 pancakes in this photo.

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the oats and milk and let it stand for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the egg, flour, wheat bran, baking powder, sugar substitute, oil and salt, mixing until evenly blended and only small lumps are left. Let the batter stand in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. (Don’t do it on High like I did at first. Oops!). Working in batches, pour the batter by ¼ cup into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the top starts to bubble and the bottom is browned. Turn and cook for another 1-2 minutes longer or until golden brown on bottom.

4. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Repeat to make a total of 12 pancakes.

Makes about 12 pancakes

Veggies Au Gratin

Welcome back and welcome to 2011! A new year to begin new resolutions and start fresh. I already started my exercise resolution today. I didn’t go to the gym but I did walk for an hour which was about 3 miles. Don’t want my body to freak out all at once. Must ease into it…

Well today’s recipe is something I threw together last week. I was looking for something different as a side dish. I think we were having a pork tenderloin or something. I actually don’t remember. Anyway, I came up with this recipe and there was enough leftover to “reinvent” it again for another night. I think it was even better the second time around! The flavors melded together much better. It is actually lower in fat and calories if you can believe it! I used fat-free half-and-half, Light Laughing Cow cheese and low-fat mozzarella. Also the flour I used to thicken it was soy flour but you can also use whole wheat or regular. The butter I used was a butter substitute also. Saving calories all over the place!!! When I “reinvented” it the second time I added cooked orzo and some leftover green beans I found in the fridge. Added a little more half-and-half and just heated it all up! Voila! Two nights! (and actually there was still a little leftover for a 3rd night for us to have a little more!)

When I made this I didn’t measure so I am guessing on the measurements here. If you need to adjust it for yourself, please do! Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

1 (16 ounce) package frozen broccoli and cauliflower

1 cup fat-free half-and-half

½ stick (4 tbsp) butter substitute

1½ cup soy flour

2 wedges Light Laughing Cow cheese (any flavor you like)

1 cup grated parmesan/pecorino cheese

½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

garlic powder

DAY 2 INGREDIENTS:

½ cup uncooked orzo (cook according to package directions)

any leftover veggies in fridge

fat-free half-and-half as needed

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook the frozen broccoli/cauliflower in microwave on High for about 7 minutes. Drain and put into a small casserole dish. Sprinkle with garlic powder, mix and set aside.

2. Meanwhile in a medium sauce pot add butter and half-and-half and stir until butter is melted. Add the flour and continue cooking on medium-heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and there are no lumps in the flour, about 10-15 minutes.

3. Add the Laughing Cow cheese and stir until melted completely. If it’s chopped into small pieces it will melt faster. Add the grated cheese and mozzarella cheese and stir until melted.

4. Add cheese mixture to the vegetables in the casserole dish and mix well until all vegetables are covered.

5. Place in preheated 350º oven and bake until cheese is bubbly and browned. This should be about 30 minutes or so. Check after 30 minutes to be sure.

DAY 2:

1. Cook the orzo according to package, drain and add to leftover Au Gratin mix. Add a little more half-and-half and cheese as needed to make it a little more creamy. Heat in medium saucepan stirring occasionally. Make sure it doesn’t stick to pan.

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